Ex-Edgewood star adjusts athletically, academically

April 04, 1993|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

College basketball stories abound today with tales of the players who had trouble with entrance tests, bounced around in the junior-college ranks and failed to survive.

Steve Lewis is a survivor. He also had some basic training.

Lewis, a freshman star for Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Fla., grew up in East Baltimore, then moved with his family to Edgewood while in elementary school.

"I've seen the good and the terrible, and I can adjust," Lewis said recently. "You see the problems, but you have to be strong."

Lewis, a slender 6 feet 4, went on to an outstanding basketball career at Edgewood High, earning All-Metro honors from The Baltimore Sun as a senior.

Although a good student in high school, Lewis did not meet the required test scores for a college scholarship, and opted for a prep school, Milford Academy.

"I didn't get the SATs [Scholastic Aptitude Test], but I did get better study habits and basketball skills," Lewis said.

At Milton, one of his teammates was Joel Reinhart, a highly regarded Florida high school player whom Brevard coach Don Smith tried to recruit.

"When Joel came back on vacation, he told me about an overachieving guy who worked hard, and was I interested," Smith said of his first awareness of Lewis. "Steve visited the school and decided to come."

Neither the player nor the school is sorry.

While Brevard went 10-21, its worst season in recent years, Lewis, forced to play inside a lot because of the team's overall lack of size, finished as the leading scorer (18.9) and second-leading rebounder (5.8).

His percentage of 48.3 from three-point range ranked him third in the state among junior-college players, and his overall field-goal percentage of 53.8 put him in the state's top 15. He was fourth in foul shooting at 81 percent.

The reward for this work was a place on the Suncoast All-Conference team, the only freshman selected for the first unit.

"This is better than jumping into a four-year program right now," Lewis said, "because this transition has been better, my game has improved, and I have achieved some goals."

As impressive as these basketball statistics are, his classroom marks are even better. Taking what Lewis called "more difficult classes," he made the dean's list with a 3.5 grade-point average for the first semester, and his most recent marking period showed all A's.

Of Lewis, his coach says, "He is one of the hardest-working and dedicated players I've had. It bothers him when the team loses, regardless of his play. He takes care of business."

Four-year colleges have expressed interest in the Harford County resident, and more likely will do so when he appears in a junior-college all-star camp this summer.

"They invite about 100 players, and this will triple his exposure," said Smith.

Still, Lewis expects to return to Brevard for a second season, then go on to a four-year program, where he will have two years of eligibility.

An only child, Lewis credits his mother -- "a strong lady" -- with being his inspiration.

"Being away [from home] doesn't bother me. I have some ideas. If Plan A doesn't work, I'll go to Plan B. It's the road I have to go," he said.

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